U.S. small businesses added 20,000 workers to their payrolls in December, although hourly workers’ pay and work weeks shrank, according to the monthly Intuit Inc. Small Business Employment and Revenue Indexes.

Louisiana small businesses grew 0.2 percent for the month, double the national growth rate, according to the report. The Louisiana growth rate works out to around 2.4 percent for the year.

“Small business employment continues to recover even more slowly than overall employment. The recovery for non-farm payroll employment is just under 6 percent from the trough in February 2010, while the employment recovery for private payroll, not including government, is a bit over 7 percent,” said Susan Woodward, the economist who works with Intuit to create the indexes. “By comparison, small business recovery is only 2.8 percent for the same period.”

There were slight declines in the number of hours worked and pay.

Hourly employees worked an average of 107.2 hours in December, which is a 12-minute decrease from November’s figure of 107.4 hours, making for a 24.7-hour work week.

Meanwhile, the average monthly pay for small business employees fell to $2,694 in December, down slightly from $2,695 in November. The equivalent yearly wages would be about $32,300. This average includes wages that small business owners pay to themselves.